EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Dozens of breast and ovarian cancer survivors marched Friday in the Kentucky Oaks Survivors parade at Churchill Downs.
Four women from the Tri-State were selected to participate, including Lisa Preston of Webster County.
In 2018, Lisa spent many hours on her front porch in Onton, Kentucky, recovering from breast cancer treatment.
“My diagnosis was supposed to be first stage, early, easy. We’re going to go in, have a lumpectomy, we’ll remove a lymph node or two,” said Preston.
But a week later at her first post-op checkup, things changed.
“He just said, I never like to have to say anything like this, but we didn’t get it all. Yours has already spread beyond the margins I removed in a week’s time.”
The cancer was invasive and aggressive. Lisa had three surgeries in just four weeks.
“I had 32 lymph nodes removed, a complete mastectomy, it went to my bloodstream and into my lymph nodes. I wasn’t an early stage and I wasn’t a first stage. I was at the end of the third stage and very aggressive.”
Powerful chemotherapy treatments and radiation followed.
“Behind you, my nephew, he welded this angel. That’s my focal point. I hung it up there. It’s my focal point.”
Since day one of her diagnosis, Lisa’s strength hasn’t wavered.
“My family, nieces, nephews, they are my children, they started coming by the numbers that afternoon all upset. From the very beginning, I was ok. If I lived, I was ok. If I didn’t live, I was ok because I’m spiritually strong and my faith is strong. I wanted to live because I’ve got grandsons and family, and I feel like my family depends on me a lot. I just had this strong will that I was gonna do it.”
And she did not have to do it alone.
“My family, my church, the community, our county. We do a cruise-in for our Onton Hay Days which is charitable, and this year it was for breast cancer. We had over 300 street rod people come here and they’re my family.”
In February of 2019, doctors told Lisa she was in remission.
“That was my day.”
Now, just months later, she has something else to celebrate.
“Look at my beautiful hat.”
Lisa is one of 145 women chosen to participate in the Kentucky Oaks Survivors Parade.
“We are gonna have our own place. We don’t have to worry about parking. We’ve got shuttles. It’s really, for our first time, it’s probably the best time to go.”
Odds are, no matter what the future holds, you can bet this wife, mother, friend and fighter is keeping the faith.
“I told God, that you get me through this, I’m your vessel and I’ll be your vessel from here on out.”